Across the 18 frightening, hilarious and utterly compelling hours of Twin Peaks: The Return, there have been some excellent musical moments. Several esteemed musicians have taken to the stage of the Bang Bang Bar; their performances often closing out the episodes. Here are five memorable pieces of music from Twin Peaks: The Return:
Chromatics – Shadow (EPISODE 1)
Johnny Jewel recorded over twenty hours of music for Twin Peaks and this is his finest imprint. At the end of the dazzling premiere, there is an emotional aura when James Hurley walks into the bar and it cuts to Shelly sitting at a table revelling with other women as a doll-like Ruth Radelet expels her airy voice across the room. The reappearance of these characters coupled with the dreamy synth melody of “Shadow” provides a satisfying sense of finality to the episode where the recrudescence of the show has become euphorically palpable.
(Ed – The performance has been removed from YouTube. Shame.)
Sharon Van Etten – Tarifa (EPISODE 6)
At the culmination of another mind-boggling portion of Lynchian masterclass, Van Etten’s performance is a blissful detour. As the Roadhouse mob sways along, she sings this highlight from 2014’s Are We There, re-recorded for Twin Peaks. Her presence is so tender yet strangely intense as her voice travels in perfect chemistry with the band. The arcane, nocturnal imagery in the lyrics is befitting to the inevitable elliptical nature of the episode.
Nine Inch Nails – She’s Gone Away (EPISODE 8)
Slotted into what could be described as the most experimental hour of television ever aired is a sea-parting performance by NIN of She’s Gone Away from their latest EP. It comes after the repulsive scene where Evil Cooper has his innards pulled apart by a clan of ghostly tramps. Watch how Trent Reznor, clad in a leather jacket and sunglasses, leans towards the audience like a vulture. He lets out echoing yelps as if from one of the supernatural creatures of Twin Peaks. The fuzzy dissonant distortion and ominous lighting parallel seamlessly with the preceding scene.
Rebekah Del Rio – No Stars
Deputy Hawk receives an opaque phonecall from the moribund Log Lady. Then a cloud passes over a half-moon as the first notes of “No Stars” hits. The sequencing here is dexterous. Latin-American singer Rebekah Del Rio’s performance vocals are virtuosic as she alternates between singing in Spanish and English – commanding the mic for seven minutes; her dress resembling the floor pattern of the Black Lodge. Del Rio also sang in Lynch’s 2001 neo-noir film Mulholland Drive. And yes that is Moby gently plucking the guitar in case you were wondering.
James Hurley – Just You (EPISODE 13)
One of Twin Peaks’ greatest assets has been its absurdist humour. James Hurley, originally a cog in the Lynchian machine of soap opera lampooning, appears stern-faced, shaven-headed delivering the whiniest of ballads. He played this same song intimately with Maddie and Donna way back in series 2. After the slick Roadhouse performances, this startling contrast incites twelve bellyfuls of laughter. The fact that a female audience member appears exceedingly touched by this tone deaf tune is also amusing.